CAIRO: Both renowned Flamenco dancer María Pagés and viral hepatitis will literally take center stage in two fundraising performances launching the newly formed Egyptian Liver Care Society.
In her second visit to Cairo since last September, Pagés will perform at the Cairo Opera House on July 18 and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina on July 20.
The Egyptian Liver Care Society (ECLS), created by Youssreyia Loza in collaboration with the National Committee of Viral Hepatitis, responds to the urgent need to provide affordable liver care for the estimated 10 to 15 percent of the Egyptian population affected by the disease.
The plans for the ELCS were first set in motion when Loza’s son sent 300 workers to work in Algeria, only to find upon their arrival that 160 of them were infected by viral hepatitis, Loza said in a press conference. The workers were sent back to Egypt, and Loza approached Dr Wahid Doss, the Chairman of the National Committee of Viral Hepatitis, for help.
With the help of the National Committee, appointed by the Ministry of Health, the collaboration between Doss and Loza resulted in the creation of the ELCS. The society’s goal is to raise LE 100 million annually to create awareness and financially support those in need of transplants and liver treatment.
The cost of liver treatment bears down heavily on Hepatitis C patients who may not have the means of footing the bill. Patients must face the price of LE 1,600 for one interferon injection, said Abdel Rahman Shahin, Ministry of Health spokesperson. For a liver transplant, patients must pay up to LE 350,000.
Although the National Committee has significantly reduced the prices of treatment, often patients are still left without the financial means to pay medical bills, Shahin said. This is where the ELCS comes in.
Mai El Guindi, the director of project development for Al Karma Edutainment, a provider of education entertainment media, played a significant role in the planning of Pagés’ performance.
El Guindi said the launch represents a public and private partnership, “It represents the business community coming together with civil society for a national issue, she said. She also noted the importance of the international community’s help.
“This is the path of success, she said.